Kitchen faucets now have style that is equal to or greater than their primary function. And because the faucet sits above the sink – the undisputed workhorse of the kitchen – it has to command attention on its own either through placement, finish, design or all of the above.
Most important, of course, is whether or not the new faucet can stand up to everyday uses and if the design fits the function.
Sink-mount: Homeowners who are just replacing their sink-mounted faucet will need to take how many faucet holes are available. If the new faucet requires four holes, but the sink only has three then it’s time to continue shopping. Single handle faucets, though, will typically include a deck plate to cover unneeded holes.
Deck-mount: Homeowners who choose to mount their faucet to the countertop instead of the sink need to be sure there is enough space behind the faucet for proper cleaning. This configuration is best for undermount sinks.
Wall-mount: Placement of a wall mounted faucet can be tricky. In colder climates, buyers should check to be sure local codes allow for plumbing on outside walls. Plumbers – or whomever is doing the installation – will need to check for wall studs and move anything that interferes with placement. Homeowners should also consider the pitch of the faucet to determine how water will flow in the sink. This installation is usually best with single basin sinks.
How many handles?
Single handle vs double handle: Making this choice comes down to whether or not it is easier to swing one handle toward the right temperature or having more control over the temperature is more important. Using a single handle can be more convenient if at least one hand is clean while double handles still allow access to water and the sink if one handle springs a leak and requires repair.
Touch: Sensors that turn water on and off with just the touch of the back of a hand or wrist mean less mess overall, but adjusting the flow and temperature is still a manual operation with the handle touch faucets need. Most brands use batteries to power the sensor.
Motion activated: A step beyond touch is the motion-activated faucet for even freer hands-free operation. Batteries also power these sensors for most brands and includes an automatic shutoff set to a relatively short amount of time to avoid potential flooding problems. Like its touch faucet relative, motion-activated faucets have a handle for flow and temperature control.
The most popular finishes for faucets are chrome, nickel, brushed nickel, stainless steel, polished brass, oil-rubbed bronze, and matte black. How homeowners match their new faucets to their kitchen depends on the overall style of the kitchen (country, bistro, modern, urban chic, etc.) and how tied in they want their fixtures and their hardware to be.